Is Our Culture Off Track?
What are the signs of a workplace culture in need of shifting? Are you noticing a disconnect between what leaders are trying to accomplish and what employees are internalizing? We recommend 6 actions to stop doing and 6 actions to start doing to positively accelerate your culture.
Avoid Choosing the Status Quo
There is a lot of information out there about continuous improvement and lean thinking. Do we know what is really at the core of those methodologies? Dr. John Toussaint and Dr. Christina Dixon join Janet in this podcast series to dig deep into the core of improvement work.
Are We Over-Generalizing the Term Micromanagement?
When we think of micromanaging, it typically has a negative connotation. But the reality is, extra supervision and coaching are sometimes necessary before some individuals are ready to leave the nest. What can leaders do to help employees feel supported, rather than micromanaged?
Maximize Rounding in Your Organization
There isn’t a wrong way to conduct rounding – unless you are avoiding it all together. When we round, our goal is to build relationships with our stakeholders. It doesn’t matter if we approach rounding in a formal or informal fashion. Its true value is in the connection itself.
Do We Always Ask the Same Rounding Questions?
When leaders round with employees on a routine basis, they harvest valuable information and form a trusting relationship. Although we like to start with 4 specific questions, it can be helpful to personalize your rounding conversations over the course of your relationship.
What can "Connect to Purpose" sound like?
In our work and personal lives we all want to feel that what we do matters. Giving, serving, leaning into our values, and thinking about others can all help fuel us with a sense of purpose, as our podcast guests share during their connect to purpose stories.
What Makes a Successful Team?
With substantial pressure on workers and teams to learn new skills, generate innovative and creative products and services, and collaborate to solve complicated problems, we are realizing a need for team members to build deeper connections and take greater risks. To accomplish this, we embrace vulnerability.
Vulnerability is a Strength
For years, people have felt the need to “shut off” or conceal their emotions in the workplace. Now, we are realizing, effective leaders tune into the emotions of their employees to provide support, motivate teams, and create deeper connections between individuals.
How Do Organizations Succeed Through Difficult Times?
Resilient organizations are able to improve faster because they place emphasis on and build disciplined routines around people, service, and alignment. To cultivate a culture of resilience leaders align people to goals, take time to routinely reflect, and communicate transparently with all stakeholders.
Sustain Results at Scale
The work of improvement creates the backbone for real change where it matters. Focus on continuous improvement yields valuable results and radically changes outcomes in a number of fields. In this podcast, Dr. Pat Greco joins us to continue the conversation around improving school systems and organizations so leaders can accelerate results and sustain success over time.
How Can Leaders Develop their Teams?
In this podcast episode, listen as Studer Education Leader Coach, Dr. Melissa Matarazzo shares some game-changing practices that have helped her best support the coaches she leads as well as valuable tips leaders can put into action right now to help grow and develop their teams.
How Resilient Are You?
A resilient organization does more than respond to change, crisis, or threats. To establish a culture of resilience, leaders model resilient behaviors, use the language of resiliency, and inspire teams to keep moving forward. Review the four critical characteristics of resilient leaders.
Bring Teams Together
In this podcast, a school district leader describes how his team came together to solve problems amid disruption. Corey credits his team's success to their culture and guiding principles established across the system to make decisions and collaborate for the benefit of their students.
What Does Success During a Crisis Look Like?
How engaged is your workforce in times of crisis? Have you helped them define what success looks like? When people are feeling anxious and overwhelmed by change, this podcast encourages leaders to be empathetic, trust your team, and make the best decisions you can.
Give People a Reason to Return
Excellent service doesn’t happen by accident. Service excellence is deeply rooted in the culture and values of organizations that outperform their competitors. When organization’s prioritize service excellence as a core value, they ensure it’s infused in everything they do.
How does recognition encourage high performance?
With recognition we are able to engage, retain, and motivate most employees to sustain high performance. Recognition is so important to an organization’s success that it’s our ninth principle and the glue that holds all of our principles together. Recognizing others takes little time and pays great dividends.
What Makes Employees Shine?
When we establish recognition systems in our organizations or on our teams, we focus on employees by understanding what makes them shine and what keeps them engaged. A culture of recognition is powerful and contagious. What can you do to incorporate recognition as a habit for your team?
Consider multiple perspectives
During the strategic planning process, organizations are encouraged to gather input on perceptions and priorities from all stakeholder groups. Focus groups, surveys, and environmental scans are the most widely used methods of gathering this feedback.
Check Your Burnout Level
Many successful, hardworking Americans experience burnout more than once during their careers, even people who are passionate about what they do. High performers can be obsessed with achieving excellence and exceeding results to the point of exhaustion. Begin reducing stress by taking small steps to prevent overload burnout.
Are We Surveying Too Much?
Superintendent Greg Gibson has a great question for Dr. Janet Pilcher during this video, "Do we run the risk of survey burnout with doing so many surveys?" Watch as they explore what causes survey burnout, and what you can do as the leader to prevent it.
Address Employee Needs & Ideas
When an employee reveals a needed resource, barrier to a process, or an idea for improvement, leaders have the responsibility to act on that information. Following-up and following-through after conversations or receiving feedback from employees builds trust and increases engagement and productivity. For this leadership challenge, determine follow-up actions to take as the leader after each leader connection scenario.
Connections Require Follow-Up
Scheduling and conducting monthly connection conversations with employees is a giant step towards increasing engagement on your team. Just as important as the conversations you’re having, is what you do with the information you collect. How can we ensure employees know they’re supported?
Are Your Employees Excited to Get to Work?
Disengaged employees cost the American economy billions per year in lost productivity. Employees can become disengaged when they're made to feel like they're not listened too, valued, or appreciated. To keep people engaged, leaders must remind them of the meaningful outcomes they help to create.
Is Your Team Engaged?
Sustaining high levels of employee engagement can be achieved by building relationships, affirming the individual’s value, removing barriers, and providing development and growth opportunities to employees. Use the following questions to analyze the employee experience for your team.
Engage Teams While Improving Processes
One of a leader’s greatest responsibilities is to ensure teams are engaged and productive. People are motivated to increase productivity when leaders take time to get to know them personally, make them feel comfortable, and help remove barriers in the workplace.
Does everyone know the goal?
Most of us have a hard time remembering the important goals and strategies we’re responsible for achieving because they aren’t communicated in ways that stick. One of the most effective ways to help our teams really know what we’re asking them to achieve is to draw clear connections for them.
What's eroding your team's morale?
Employees and leaders suffering from low morale are the ultimate silent killers for an organization. Actively disengaged employees are costing the American economy billions per year in lost productivity. How can leaders recognize low-moral and re-engage team members before the organization's success is jeopardized?
What makes you happy?
Most employees start work with passion, excitement, and willingness to take on new challenges. Over time, some employees may find themselves in a rut, dreading going to work each day. As leaders, it’s critical to work with employees to link their job roles with the mission of the organization and their internal passions.
Confronting the Leader
The act of providing feedback to coworkers or a supervisor helps the organization be more successful. For some, it can be uncomfortable to approach a team member with anything other than positive feedback. With practice you can prepare to have a difficult conversation with your colleagues the right way.
What Does Your Leader Really Want?
We all have a "what." Knowing what is most important to your leader will help create a more productive professional relationship between the two of you. Delivering on what's most important won't prevent mistakes, but it can make you more valuable in your leader's eyes.
Frantic is not the same as urgent
False urgency is the result of complacency and prevents the organization from moving forward. Leaders are encouraged to review the characteristics of false and real urgency with their team and reflect on the type of urgency that exists within the organization.
Isn't that what you get paid to do?
Unless structures are established to promote gratitude in the workplace, employees are unlikely to say "thanks" for support provided or a job well done. Research in this article reveals the positive impact of expressions of gratitude by colleagues, including increased satisfaction and engagement.
I know each employee's performance level. Now what?
Moving an organization forward requires appropriate levels of leadership support and feedback for improvement. This begins with a clear determination of employee performance levels. This leadership challenge is designed to guide leaders through a process of differentiating staff performance levels.
How do I know where my employees land on the performance curve?
The first step in providing the most effective leadership support is to determine the performance level of each employee. The purpose of grouping employees is to differentiate the approach for feedback and improvement. This tool assists leaders in differentiating employee performance before having conversations that move the organization to excellence.
The difference between a low solid and high solid performance conversation
The structure for a low solid performance conversation differs slightly from that of a high solid. In this coaching clip, KK Owen outlines each type and provides a visual of the conversation differences.
How do I address performance that's less than great?
The objective of a low solid performance conversation is to communicatesupport for improvement. The leader is responsible for identifying the skill area to be improved, as well as resources to aid in the employee’s development. Consider this low solid scenario and how expectations are communicated and supported.
Have a conversation with a low solid performer
The goal for low solid performance is to support movement to the next level. In this video, the supervisor is committed to the employees success, provides clear notes about performance observations, and plans specific activities to develop skills.
Once is not enough.
A single communication of standards is not enough. Systematically keeping standards of service excellence at the forefront reinforces understanding and helps employees see how they impact the daily work. This email message is an example of an organization’s process for highlighting one standard each month and clearly connecting the behavior to the workplace.
The High-Stakes Impact of Failing to Re-recruit
The research from this educational context is certainly transferable to any sector. In this article, we learn how a simple question could have convinced an irreplaceable employee to stay. Top performers are more likely to stick with leaders who actively re-recruit them.
Track employee retention conversations.
The 30-Day and 90-Day Conversations reinforce that leaders are committed to retaining the new hire. These conversations build an engaged workforce culture and are most effective when incorporated as a step in the formal on-boarding process. The tracking form validates the employee-leader connection.
Reduce turn-over by asking the right questions.
Learning the culture of the organization and how to be a successful member of the culture can be a difficult path to navigate for new employees. The 30-Day and 90-Day Conversations help us build trust and develop a strong relationship with our new hires. Create consistency by following these general implementation guidelines.
"If I hadn't asked, I never would have known."
Having 30/90-day conversations with new employees is a practice that should consistently be carried out. These conversations are important for engaging the new hire. They are also valuable for you, as a leader, to gain a new perspective on your organization and make changes to better your organization.
Questions to ask new employees after the first 30 days
The 30-Day Conversation is an opportunity to give feedback and increases a new hire's success. These five questions inform areas where you might provide support and establishes a positive relationship with the new employee. The 30-Day Conversation sets the stage for on-going communication.
Questions to ask new employees after the first 90 days.
The 90-Day Conversation continues to build the relationship established during the 30-Day Conversation. These questions are designed to harvest wins and identify process improvement needs. Why not get recommendations from those doing well?
Key words for the critical first days of a new hire.
To build relationships, some of the best leaders intentionally make solid connections with their employees. This is especially important when employees start a new job. Effectively engage, recruit, and retain new-hires using 30 & 90-day conversations.
How can I make meetings more meaningful?
Experience and research tells us employees in all levels of an organization spend valuable time in unproductive meetings. We've developed several strategies to use prior to, during, and after meetings to improve the flow, increase the impact, and reduce wasted time.
Harness the Power of Feedback
The better we communicate results, the greater opportunity we have to create a team approach to problem solving. We train leaders to share results with employees, celebrate the wins, and ask for input on ways to improve. The Survey Results Rollout process teaches leaders to develop key words and actions for facilitating a Survey Results Rollout meeting with their team.